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DDF consigns Msgr. Tony Anatrella, priest-psychotherapist and former Vatican consultor, to life of prayer

January 18, 2023

Concluding canonical proceedings initiated in 2016, the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith has consigned Msgr. Tony Anatrella, a prominent priest-psychotherapist, to a life of prayer, the Archdiocese of Paris announced on January 17.

The 81-year-old priest, who was accused of sexually abusing patients during psychotherapy, is barred from hearing confessions and celebrating Mass publicly, as well as from engaging in psychotherapy, publishing works, or taking part in conferences. Msgr. Anatrella denied the allegations.

Known for his public support of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality, priestly celibacy, and gender identity, Msgr. Anatrella was a consultor of the Pontifical Council for the Family and the Pastoral Care of Health Care Workers, a member of the Vatican Medjugorje commission (2010), and a collaborator to the special secretary at the 2014 Synod on the Family. Over the years, Anatrella contributed to Vatican publications and spoke at Vatican conferences.

In February 2016, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Holy See’s Secretary of State, thanked Anatrella for his work in organizing a conference on priestly celibacy. That same month, Msgr. Anatrella created controversy when he told newly appointed bishops at a Vatican seminar that they are not required to report abuse complaints to the police.

In May 2016, Anatrella was accused of sexually abusing male patients. Nonetheless, the Pontifical John Paul II Institute, led by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia (grand chancellor) and Msgr. Pierangelo Sequeri (dean), invited Anatrella to speak at a February 2017 conference on sex education. (Following a February 2017 La Croix report that Msgr. Anatrella was under canonical investigation, his talk was hastily cancelled.)

In 2018, Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris suspended Anatrella from public ministry. Last year, Anatrella’s attendance at a Vatican conference on priestly ministry created controversy.

 


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